The United States Supreme Court reversed an Alabama case in which the defendant was denied an expert mental health professional yesterday. In an unusual application of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, the Court held that to deny him mental health assistance in his capital case was an unreasonable application of Supreme Court law. Years ago, in Akey v Oklahoma, the Court established that when a poor defendant demonstrates that his sanity at the time of the offense will be a significant factor at trial, the state must provide him with an appropriate examination and assist in the evaluation preparation and presentation for the defense.

The Alabama case was McWilliams v Dunn. In recent history, the United States Supreme Court has reversed a number of Alabama death penalty cases.

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